How Long Does a Graphics Card Last? (Awesome Guide)

Each piece of computer hardware plays a different role in a system unit. Every component serves a different purpose that is crucial to the overall system performance of a PC. Choosing the best hardware may vary according to different types of usage.

For gamers, the graphics card is probably the most important piece of hardware. I know a lot of people that tend to prioritize the GPU more than the CPU.

The graphics card is responsible for accelerating the graphics processing power of a system unit, an important aspect not only in gaming but also in video editing. But with all those benefits you can get from a GPU, keep in mind that putting much stress on it may shorten its lifespan.

So how long does a graphics card last? Usually, they should last for at least 3-5 years, depending on how you use it. However, that is not the case for everyone as some GPUs may last less than 3 years, while some can last for more than seven years.

In this article, we will discuss the factors that will affect the longevity of a graphics card.

How Long Does a Graphics Card Last on Average?

While some users have owned a graphics card that lasted for more than 5 years, on average, they usually last for at least 3-5 years. However, there are also users whose card has died in less than 3 years.

Graphics card

This may be due to mishandling, such as improper overclocking, overheating, a poor power supply unit, and clogging of dust that leads to corrosion. Some just die because of manufacturing issues, though that should qualify them for RMA.

Do Graphics Cards Wear Out?

When you buy computer hardware, you cannot expect it to last an eternity. Each part inside the computer will wear out, this includes the GPU.

Whether it is because of the natural wear and tear process or mishandling, the day will come that a graphics card will stop working. As the saying goes, “nothing lasts forever”.

Can a Dead GPU be Repaired?

Believe it or not, a dead GPU can be repaired. But this will depend on how severe the damage is. Several strange guides on the Internet are reported by some users to have fixed their issues.

The most notable ones are the washing of the GPU itself and reheating. However, I will not recommend it unless you are only doing it for experimental purposes. If you have a dead card, it might also be worth visiting a computer technician near you.

If your graphics card has worn out and can not be fixed, or you simply would like to upgrade, you should read my report on the best graphics cards under $300. At this price point, you will get an impressive piece of kit.

How Long do GPUs Last Before Going Obsolete?

This would entirely depend on the type of graphics card you own. For instance, a high-end card should still be relevant for up to 5 years. An example of this is the GTX 980 Ti which was released way back in 2015.

Nvidia GPU electronics pcb board

During its release, it was the king of gaming GPUs, and five years later, it is still capable of performing on several AAA titles. But if you purchase an entry-level card, expect it to become obsolete much faster.

How Would I Know Once it Becomes Obsolete?

When your graphics card cannot keep up with the latest AAA titles anymore, that’s the time when you can tell that it is obsolete. You can also check the system requirements for each game on their website to know whether your card can handle the game in question.

If you notice that your card is below the minimum requirements, then it is safe to say that it has already passed its peak.

You can also check this website to determine where your GPU stands: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gpu-hierarchy,4388.html

The better the GPU you begin with the longer it will last before going obsolete obviously. With that in mind here are some outstanding 17-inch gaming laptops we have reviewed. If you happen to be a laptop gamer you should check these out.

How Often Should you Replace Your Graphics Card?

You can replace your GPU as often as you need. Really, the only thing stopping you here is your budget. If budget is not an issue, you can upgrade yearly if that’s what you wanted.

But since not everyone has money to burn on new GPUs, you can still hold onto your current card for as long as it keeps up with your current needs. If you notice that it starts to struggle on the latest games, then that’s the perfect time to replace it.

Does the Timescale of Changing the Card Differ Depending on What Games you Play and Your Wants?

Of course. If you only play eSports titles such as CS:GO, Dota 2, and LoL, you don’t have to change your graphics card that often. Since these titles are well-optimized, any mid-range GPU will be able to keep up and provide you with high frame rates.

However, eSports titles also benefit greatly from higher refresh rates, from 144Hz to 240Hz monitors, so it might also be worth investing in and upgrading at times.

Is it Okay to Buy a 2nd Hand GPU?

Every gamer I know has had an experience of buying a used graphics card. There are several benefits that you can get from buying 2nd hand. The first is that it is much cheaper compared to brand new and performs the same. But there are also drawbacks.

For example, if you buy a used card, you are not sure of how long it will last before dying. Plus it is hard to RMA 2nd hand GPUs since they will not be listed under your name, or the warranty may have already expired.

Why you Should Never Buy a GPU from a Crypto Miner

In the previous section above, we have discussed the benefit of buying 2nd hand. But be careful when purchasing used GPUs, especially online. Many used cards are on the market right now, some used for gaming, some are from mining cryptocurrencies.

The reason why I highly discourage buying from a crypto-miner is that these GPUs tend to have been running at full load 24/7. The lifespan of these has been affected so much that buying them will not be worth it.

How to Increase the Lifespan of my GPU?

When buying a new GPU, we always think about how long this card should last us. Like I haven’t even used it yet, and all I can think of is how long it could be useful for. Luckily, there are ways on how to improve the lifespan.

1. Decrease Graphics Feature and Settings

Adjusting the graphic sliders at max will put much stress on your GPU. Doing this regularly may decrease its lifespan.

So if you wish for it to last longer, dialing down the graphics settings may help it in that regard. But don’t lower the settings to the point where you don’t enjoy the game as much. Unless you have a very powerful graphics card, then you are good to go, even at max settings.

2. No Overclocking

Never overclock unless you feel like you really must, and then only if you know what you are doing and understand the risks. That extra few FPS increase may not be worth it considering you will be putting extra stress on the GPU as soon as you start to overclock it.

I wrote an article a while back discussing is it worth overclocking a laptop’s GPU or not. I think this may help you decide whether overclocking a GPU is a good idea or not.

3. Decrease Resolutions

Playing at higher resolutions beyond what your GPU could handle can also decrease the lifespan. Try to lower the monitor’s resolution to improve your gameplay.

If you feel that the game gets pixelated, you can settle at a high resolution but change the graphics settings instead.

4. Run at Lower Frame Rates

Playing at high frame rates is a must, especially for competitive eSports titles. But did you know that your frame rate should sync up with your screen’s refresh rates? Well, not necessarily, but if your monitor has only a 60Hz refresh rate, sometimes it’s better to lock your FPS to 60fps in some games.

Sure your FPS counter would show you 144 fps, but those extra frames would be useless since your monitor is only running at 60Hz. Not only do you get zero benefits from having high FPS on a low-refresh rate monitor in most cases, but you are also putting additional stress on the GPU.

Outside of competitive shooters where higher FPS directly affects your aiming and gameplay, you may want to cap your FPS.

5. Keep the GPU Cool at all Times

Playing games at a high temperature can be harmful. It could potentially decrease the card’s lifespan, so a well-ventilated case is a must. Also, when buying a graphics card, try to pick those that at least have dual-fans if you have the extra budget.

6. Play 2D Games

Playing 2D games is the last resort if you want to play games but also want your GPU to last longer. Plus, there are a vast amount of 2D titles on Steam right now that are pretty good. These types of games are not heavy graphically demanding, so you won’t be putting too much load on the card.

I personally could not do this as I love my AAA titles, and I am guessing you will be exactly the same.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can a dead GPU be fixed?

If you have the skills and tools, yes it can be fixed. Although this may depend on the amount and type of damage suffered.

Whilst on this topic, I recommend that you read this article I recently wrote on how to tell if your GPU is dying.

Can a PC run without a graphics card?

Most motherboards have a built-in port for your monitor. These may include VGA, HDMI, display port, or DVI. Though only some modern processors have integrated graphics included in them.

Those that do ensure your PC can still run even without a dedicated graphics card. Ryzen CPUs and Intel Core i-series with the “F” suffix do not have integrated graphics, and therefore you will need a graphics solution.

The ‘F’ suffix means that it doesn’t have integrated graphics included on those chips.

Is it easy to install a graphics card?

It is very easy. Installing a graphics card does not require a deep understanding of computers. It’s as easy as plugging the card into the PCIe slot, plugging in your PCI-e power connectors (if applicable), and screwing the bracket at the back of the case.

That’s it. The only tricky part here, especially for beginners, is the PCIe connectors found coming from the PSU. A quick search on YouTube will show hundreds of quality guides on how to install these easily.

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